Solar PV installations on both residential and commercial buildings will see rapid growth over the next five years, according to the latest market forecast from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA’s “Renewables 2019” market report was released today. It is the “market analysis and forecast from 2019 to 2024 on renewable energy and technologies. It provides global trends and developments for renewable energy in the electricity, heat and transport sectors.”

The report forecasts that the world’s total renewable-based power capacity will grow by 50% between 2019 and 2024. This increase of 1,200 gigawatts — equivalent to the current total power capacity of the United States — is driven by cost reductions and concerted government policy efforts. Solar PV accounts for 60% of the rise. The share of renewables in global power generation is set to rise from 26% today to 30% in 2024.

The commercial and industrial sectors will account for three-quarters of new installations over the next five years. This is due to economies of scale and bigger savings on electricity costs. The number of residential solar rooftop systems on homes is expected to more than double to some 100 million by 2024.

Costs and challenges

The IEA forecasts that solar costs will decline by a further 15% to 35% by 2024. The report makes a suggestion to ensure that solar growth is sustainable:

By reforming retail tariffs and adapting policies, utilities and governments can attract investment in distributed PV while also securing enough revenues to pay for fixed network assets and ensuring that the cost burden is allocated fairly among all consumers.

While good news, this growth is well below what is needed to achieve global sustainability targets. “The three main challenges that need to be overcome to speed up the deployment of renewables: policy and regulatory uncertainty, high investment risks, and system integration of wind and solar PV.”

IEA executive director Faith Birol said:

Distributed PV’s potential is breathtaking, but its development needs to be well managed to balance the different interests of PV system owners, other consumers, and energy and distribution companies.

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